The “Little Ribbons” of Joy

19 Oct

So I went out the other weekend and bought myself the pasta attachment for my KitchenAid mixer.  My first use came with making a batch of whole wheat chipotle fettuccine.  First, allow me the indulgence of giving a little background on fettuccine; Fettuccine, literally “little ribbons” in Italian,  is a popular type of flat pasta usually made of egg and flour (some days I enjoy channeling Cliff Clavin), although my recipe is sans egg as my daughter has an egg allergy.  In my recipe, the egg is replaced by a puree of hot water and chipotle chile.

First off, it is important to form this dough correctly, so take your 2 cups of whole wheat flour and make a mound of it directly on your work surface. Now, when I was a kid, helping my father make the pasta dough, I always imagined it as a volcano, so make a large crater in the center of the mound to form your volcano. Now, go over to your blender, place the contents of one can of La Costena Chipotle Chiles (for me, there is NO substitute) into the blender and ½ cup of hot water. Put the blender on puree and let it run until it is nice and smooth. Get a medium mesh sieve out of your drawer or cabinet and press the puree through the sieve into a small bowl. Now take that bowl over to your volcano and add it to the crater. If you have not figured it out yet, this would be the lava. Finally, add about 2 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Now comes the fun part!

Start pulling the flour, working it with your fingers, into the lava, incorporating a little of the flour at a time. When all the flour has been mixed in, knead the dough, pushing it down against the counter and folding it repeatedly until it is no longer sticky and quite stiff. If you think it is too dry or it is not coming together well enough, add hot water ½ of a teaspoon at a time; add more flour if it is too sticky.

Once has been thoroughly worked, sprinkle the dough with a little more flour and cover it with some plastic wrap or a clean cloth. From here we let it rest for about 30 minutes or so, usually just long enough to wash your hands, grab a glass of wine, and to listen to some salsa.  At this point, you can drink the whole bottle if you wanted to, but be sure to wrap up the dough and put it in the refrigerator first. It will hold in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
We (Me) are going to have just one glass of wine and continue on:

Pasta Sheets

The Pasta Sheets

Grab your mixer unit, install the pasta roller, and put the setting on the roller to its thickest setting (1).  Chop off about ¼ of the dough, roll it out a little bit and use your hand to form a rectangle about the width of the roller attachment and put it through the rollers, if it sticks, just dust it again with flour. Folder over the dough on itself and repeat this process again.  Set the machine to its next setting and repeat, dusting the dough as necessary to avoid it sticking. We keep working our way down through the numbered settings, putting the dough through the roller twice for each setting. If the dough tears or breaks up, start all over again.  If you are a pasta virgin, the art of pushing the dough through the rollers and catching it on the other end may take a few attempts, but you will quickly get the hang of it!  Once you have fed the dough through the roller at number 5, STOP! Your dough is now at the correct thickness for the fettuccine! Lay out the sheet on your counter top, cut the sheet into thirds or whatever length of pasta your desire, cut the width as wide as the pasta cutter attachment, sprinkle it with a little flour and admire your handiwork, then go grab another glass of wine! Once you have downed that glass of wine, go back over to your dough, grab another ¼ sized piece of dough and repeat the same process for each quarter piece of dough, skipping the wine if you want to be able to stand to use the cutter attachment!

Once all the dough has been nicely rolled into stacked sheets of pasta, they should all be ready to feed through the fettuccine cutter.  We have our sheets all ready to be cut, so what are we missing? First, remove the pasta roller attachment and attach the wide pasta cutter attachment and be sure that you have some sort of hanging apparatus to hang your pasta from once you have cut it. Maybe you have some fancy dowels or even a pasta hanging rack,  or, someone once told me, “Use-a the back-a da chair, just like-a your Gramma use to!”, it should be obvious this is a literal translation of broken English, but you get the point; pull up your chair and get to cutting, you are almost at the finish line!

Take each sheet and feed it through the pasta cutter, some hand separation may be necessary when cutting the whole wheat pasta, but if you have been sprinkling with flour as you have gone along these steps, you should be just fine. My "Little Ribbons"Once you have fed the sheets through the cutter, either form a bird’s nest and place it on a lightly floured cookie sheet, or hang the pasta on the back of your chair. If you are not going to cook this delicious pasta right away, you can either dry for a few hours and store it in an airtight container, or take the birds’ nests that you have made and place them in a large freezer bag and freeze them.

We can now take another glass of wine and celebrate this wonderful accomplishment. We have made our own fresh pasta! Once you have mastered this technique, trust me, you may never use store-bought dry pasta ever again!

By the way, continue the great MexItalian theme and serve it tossed in a fresh Cilantro Pesto!

2 Responses to “The “Little Ribbons” of Joy”

  1. ediblesubstance October 19, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    I love my kitchenaid! Making your own pasta, impressive! Looks good.

    • cjdelgrosso October 19, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

      Thank you for visiting! I took a read of your blog and would love to link back to your blog. Would I have your blessings to do so?



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